That day we dread every year, is quickly coming. Maybe it’s the last day of deer season, duck, or your favorite upland bird. Either way, most tasty animals are given rest from our relentless pursuit, somewhere towards the end of January. This has nuclear holocaust-like symptoms for some sportsmen. Some of us, after 180 days of sleep deprivation, have forgotten what the world looks like, through well rested eyes. Others are chomping at the bit, to find something to fill that void.
For me it’s straight to work; hunting season closes and the real work begins; there’s so much to do. Foremost, we have to get ready for the new source of prey that is going to be hatching and dropping in the next few months. What does this mean? Well, we all love to hunt big tasty animals, but we do all love the work that is necessary to ensure we maximize our harvest?
First, the infamous east Texas whitetail deer. They need food to be healthy, and put on good weight through out the year. A great spring crop, just for them, goes a long way for keeping their population on your property.
Protection is next. Most people just don’t take the necessary steps to protect the fawns from predators anymore. This is primarily the case, where the fur industry is all but forgotten. You see, next to starvation, the not so tasty animals that eat our query can nearly wipe out our new crop. In the aspect of deer, it is bobcat and coyotes. Bobcats favorite prey in early spring are fawns, and let me tell you they put a hurting on them. I try to keep a close eye out for the first fawns to start dropping. The day I see the first one, we start cleaning up the bobcats. This time of year they will come to a fawn in distress call like stink on $#%. We have had days that 6 cats were easy to get in. This gives you two advantages. First, if you can kill them they won’t be back. Second, the ones you don’t kill learn to associate fawns with danger, and they tend to stick to field mice. We hunt them both day and night as much as possible for the weeks the fawns are dropping. If you have kept track of your rut it should be easy to figure out when start. Add 201 days to the first day of the rut, and you will for sure be safe. While going after bobcats is a beginning, Coyotes are just as much of a threat. These pests need to be handled with authority. We have used many ways, but by far the best is a pack of large dogs. You have to train them to run ‘yotes, but when you have a well trained pack. They can tear up your coyote problem in short order. GPS collars are a must, and speak with the neighbor ranchers, because they will love what you are doing also…. Not mention at some point you will be crossing fences. If you cover these two, your deer population will have the ability to be it’s maximum.
For waterfowl and upland birds. Obviously, coyotes and cats are a problem, but there are larger ones. Fire ants for one will destroy ground dwelling bird nest faster than anything else. We tend to throw out fire ant control anywhere we have large concentrations of nesting ground birds. Coons, opossum, skunk, fox, and weasel need to be controlled. They will wreck your bird factory with unrelenting precision. Here again, not many deal with these animals much anymore. Thus, their populations are booming, and as a result the success rates of the birds are dwindling.
So, in conclusion, the last day of hunting season, doesn’t have to be the first day of 7 months of depression. It can be the start of conservation season to ensure your next hunting season is banner. Good luck to everyone, and be safe.